The Rimpfischhorn is one of the big peaks of the Mischabel group, the line of summits between the Zermatt and Saas Fee valleys. And it is also one of the most impressive, especially when seen from the south or the east, where it presents its steepest dark, rocky faces.
Our reason for including the Rimpfischhorn in our selection of routes is that its normal route presents some very fun, moderately challenging rock climbing on the summit tower. The route is interesting and complex and the summit very rewarding, a distinct, sharp high point with fantastic 360 degree views.
The climb is of just the right level of difficulty for the mountaineer looking for interesting and varied climbing, but reasonable in technical challenge. All routes to the summit are also fairly long, with relatively low surrounding huts and approaches that are both aided by a bit of lift access, but not so much that you feel as though you are cheating.
The Rimpfischhorn is great training for the Matterhorn. It is a high peak, almost 4200 meters in elevation, and includes technical rock, sometimes climbed in crampons.
There are a number of approaches to the climb, all of them requiring an overnight in a high hut. From Zermatt the usually way is to take lifts to Blauherd at 2570 meters. From there, an almost level walk brings us to the 2620 meter high Hotel Fluealp, our high hut. The Fluealp has, we think, the best hut food we have ever enjoyed. From the hut it is a long climb to the Rimpfischhorn summit, starting with a hikers trail, then on easy snow, up a steeper 3rd class rock section to arrive at the 4000 meter snowy shoulder below the summit. The last 200 metes starts in a snow gully, then traverses left onto a rock spur which is followed to near the summit. Another short traverse left and a few more feet of climbing brings us to the top.
|An alternative approach is from Saas Fee, to the
east. From Saas, we ride the lift systems to Felskinn, at almost 3000 meters.
An hour's walk brings us to the large and comfortable Britannia hut at 3030
meters. From the Britannia hut, a long glacier climb circles around the
north side of the peak arriving at the 4000 meter snow shoulder mentioned
above. There, it joins the route from Fluealp and follows this to the summit.
The Rimpfischhorn can also be climbed from the 2700 meter high Täsch hut to the northwest of the peak. Using this hut makes sense if you have climbed the Allalinhorn-Feechopf traverse and wish to also include the Rimpfischhorn for a good 3-day outing.
|Nearing the summit of the Rimpfischhorn|
The Rimpfischhorn presents both technical an aerobic challenges. The summit rock climbing requires care, though it is only very low 5th class in difficulty. The climb, from any of the surrounding huts, is long, and for most climbers this is the main challenge.
Climbers need to be quite fit, have good endurance, and experience in crampons and in rock climbing.
The Rimpfischhorn combines well with the Allalinhorn. One good combination includes climbing the Rimpfischhorn first, descending to the Britannia hut, the doing the Hohlaubgrat on the Allalinhorn the next day. Another option is to climb the Allalinhorn (either the normal route or the Hohlaubgrat) continue over the Feechopf and descend to the Täsch hut. Then the following day climb the rimpfischhorn and descend to Zermatt.
|The Rimpfischhorn from the north.|
|Rimpfischhorn and Strahlhorn from the west.|
Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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